This vegan custard is thick, creamy, and packed with sweet vanilla flavor! It’s also super easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, and perfect for everything from filling cakes and pies to enjoying by the spoonful. It’s gluten-free too!
Growing up, I didn’t have one favorite dessert. I had more of a favorite class of desserts, namely, those filled with custard. I was all about the Boston cream doughnuts, custard stuffed cakes and pies. And of course, I was always up for a big bowl of straight up custard.
I decided it was about time I got around to creating a recipe for classic, creamy vegan custard.
Traditional custard relies heavily on eggs for flavor and thickness. That’s not a problem though! Cornstarch worked really well for replacing eggs in my vegan custard pie recipe, so I modified that one a bit to create the rich and creamy dairy-free custard you see here. I also added a pat of vegan butter to supply richness.
It turned out absolutely scrumptious, and just as good (or better!) as the custard I loved so much growing up.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Non-dairy milk. You can use just about any variety of non-dairy milk that’s suitable for drinking, as long as it’s unflavored and unsweetened. Try almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, or oat milk. Need help choosing? Read my non-dairy milk guide.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch makes an excellent egg substitute, particularly in puddings and custards like this one.
- Coconut milk. Use canned coconut milk — not the kind in cartons. This recipe was developed using full-fat coconut milk, but light coconut milk should work if you’re looking to reduce the fat and calorie content.
- Sugar. Conventional granulated sugar may be bleached using animal bone char, so it’s not considered vegan. The solution? Use organic sugar, which is processed differently.
- Vegan butter.
- Vanilla extract.
- Turmeric. Only use a pinch of turmeric if you want to add some yellow color to your custard, which would be supplied by egg yolks in non-vegan versions. Vegan yellow food coloring is another option.
Variation: For chocolate custard, add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder.
How It’s Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!
Whisk your non-dairy milk and cornstarch together in a small container, making sure to fully dissolve the cornstarch. Your non-dairy milk needs to be chilled in order for this to happen.
Place your coconut milk and sugar in a small saucepan, then add the cornstarch slurry you just made. Whisk everything together before turning on the heat.
Tip: The recipe calls for a generous amount of cornstarch to make a thick custard. If you prefer a softer custard (pudding consistency), use less.
Heat up the mixture slowly, whisking it the entire time.
Eventually the mixture will come to a simmer, and then it will thicken almost immediately. Take the pot off of heat.
Add the vegan butter and vanilla to the mixture, along with turmeric if you’re using it.
Whisk the mixture again until the butter has melted and everything is mixed.
At this point you can let your vegan custard cool for a bit. When it’s just warm to the touch, you can transfer it to serving containers if you’d like, or leave it in the pot to continue cooling there. Either way, place a sheet of plastic over it, right in contact with it to prevent a skin from forming.
The custard will continue to thicken as it cools. If it gets clumpy, simply whisk it vigorously until it smooths out.
Your vegan custard is all set! Incorporate it into a recipe, use it to fill cakes, pies, tarts, pastries, or enjoy it on it’s own. I like mine topped with some vegan whipped cream and berries!
Shelf-Life & Storage
Vegan custard will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about five days.
More Vegan Puddings
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This vegan custard is thick, creamy, and packed with sweet vanilla flavor! It’s also super easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, and perfect for everything from filling cakes and pies to enjoying by the spoonful.
unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy milk,
full-fat coconut milk
organic granulated sugar
optional, for color
Whisk the chilled non-dairy milk and cornstarch together in a small container, such as a liquid measuring cup.
Place the coconut milk and sugar into a small saucepan, then add the cornstarch mixture. Whisk everything together.
Warm the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer. It should thicken up very quickly at this point. Remove it from heat once it does.
Whisk in the butter and vanilla extract, along with the turmeric, if using.
Allow the custard to cool until warm, then, optionally, transfer it to individual serving containers. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the custard (either in the pot or in smaller containers), in contact with the surface. The custard with continue to thicken as it cools.
Serve immediately or chill for later. If the custard has gotten clumpy, whisk it vigorously until it becomes smooth again.
This amount of cornstarch will give you a very thick custard, suitable for filling a pie or cake. For a thinner custard, suitable for pudding, use ¼ cup of cornstarch.
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cups)
Calories from Fat 159
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 13.6g68%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.